If you’re a surfing enthusiast, chances are that you know about Ericeira. And you probably have had it on your travel wishlist for a while now! This coastal town in Portugal is now known as the surfing capital of Europe. Read on for a complete Ericeira travel guide.
Ericeira wasn’t always known for its surf. For a long time, it was a thriving fishing village just a stone’s throw from the big city of Lisbon. If you walk around the town and take a good look at the waterfront, you can still see some of the seafood nurseries that were once used for breeding lobsters & sea urchins. The restaurants in the village depended on them. The tanks are not in use anymore and have met with a degree of ruin. However, they are signs of how eventful the area was back in the day, too.
It was in 2011 that Ericeira was recognized as a World Surf Reserve. Being the only place in Europe to have gotten that label, it has gone on to become the surfing capital of the continent.
Although Ericeira attracts surfers from all over, it gets a lot of domestic tourists. They come to this part of Portugal’s coast to enjoy the sun & sand in the summer.
What to see and do
With Ericeira being the surfing Mecca of Europe, surfing is one of the top things to do here. Those who are well-versed in the activity can dash into the surf. Others can choose to go to surf school for some training before meeting up with the famous surf of Ericeira.
Other sporting activities you can dive into while in Ericeira are skateboarding & stand-up paddling.
You might also want to spend some time on the beach as there are at least a dozen of them in and around Ericeira.
With Ericeira having plenty of great views to share, you might also want to visit some of the spots up on the cliffs. You can even hike through the rocky area and make stops at these vantage points. You could also bike through the trails and enjoy the sights.
Other things to do in Ericeira include hitting its cobblestoned streets and checking out the blue & white buildings. They make up the seaside town, its many shops. Also, order some Portuguese food, which means treating yourself to fish & wine.
For more ideas on what to do that arent included in this Ericeira travel guide, check out my post: Top 10 Things to do in Ericeira.
Although this small town is known as a surfing destination today, fishing is not obsolete in Ericeira. Local fisherfolk still bring in a lot of fish. The daily catch makes for the fresh seafood served in the many restaurants & tapas joints in town.
Fish continues to be a part of the Portuguese staple diet. There are a lot of Portuguese restaurants around and they serve more than just Bacalhau. You’ll find all kinds of fish in different kinds of preparations, from grilled to stewed. There is also lobsters & octopus & other seafood on the menus, here. You’ll even find a few Japanese restaurants that serve sushi and other Japanese items.
It’s not difficult to find yourself some steak, duck & grilled chicken in several restaurants in town.
Speaking of the other specials in this part of the country, you’ll see that most of the restaurants here have a good collection of Portuguese wines that you might want to try. Also, see if you can treat yourself to ouriço, which is a cake made from almonds.
For specific restaurants to check out that aren’t included in this Ericeira travel guide, check out my post: Best Restaurants in Ericeira.
When you’re out shopping, you could pick up some ouriço to take home. Then there’s Portuguese wine, surfing gear even miniature surfing trinkets you can take back as souvenirs & gifts.
Apart from that, you could browse the many shops that line the narrow stone streets and look for beach towels, beach wear, art, jewelry & decor items. You can even pick up paintings by Portuguese artists from the galleries here.
You could also visit Mercado Municipal, Thursday Market & Weekend Market to check out handicrafts as well as the many local wares they have on display. If you’d like to check out Ericeira’s gourmet supermarket, visit Loja da Amélia.
Ericeira is situated on Portugal’s craggy coast just around 30 miles northwest of Lisbon.
Built on cliffs, Ericeira comes with lots of viewpoints. You’ll be treated to sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, the town’s beaches & surfers at their favorite activity.
There are 4 beaches in town and several more not very far from the center of town. River Lizandro that empties itself here also gives the town an ideal place to do some Stand Up Paddling.
Ericeira might be a small town but its got enough hotels & lodges to accommodate its tourists. With surfers visiting here in large numbers, there are many surfing hostels in town, too. And many of them allow visitors to rent surfing gear at discounted rates.
If you’re traveling with family or with your surfing gang, you could even find a place to rent out for your stay.
The international airport closest to Ericeira is in Lisbon. Considering that you might be coming in from Lisbon, you can take a bus to the seaside community. There are buses leaving from the Campo Grande bus Terminal all day long, making it the best way to get here from the capital city. It should take an hour and a quarter to get there unless you’re stopping in Mafra.
If you like to drive, you could rent a car and drive to the coast. You’ll get there faster by half an hour. You can take the A8 Motorway and get off at the Mafra exit and then go westward. Or you could even do some sightseeing in Mafra.
Once you’re in Ericeira, you’ll see that it’s a walkable town. A lot of the visitors prefer walking around or turning the trip into coastal hikes, making stops at the many viewpoints on the waterfront. You could also rent bikes & electric bikes to get around this seaside town.
Best time to visit
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Ericeira might be from May to October when the weather is pleasant. The seaside town warms up to around 20-degree Centegrade or more. It’s at its driest at this time of the year. But then, it’s also when this place gets its tourists.
Ericeira is a year-round destination for surfing. However, if you’re visiting Ericeira to enjoy the surf, the best time to visit the surfing capital would depend on your surfing skills. If you’re a beginner, the wind is gentler and the waves, smaller in the summer months.
The experts on the surf might want to visit in winter. It might be colder but there’s more wind and there are bigger swells in the water. Those on intermediate surfing levels can visit in the summer or try the windier fall months. Or even the quieter spring months.
Despite being an Ericeira travel guide, I wanted to include some great nearby destinations! The small town of Mafra that lies on the Lisbon-Ericeira route is almost always visited along with the trip to the surfing town. If you’re taking the bus, they stop at Mafra so you could get down and spend a couple of hours to half a day at Mafra. Or you can day-trip there from Ericeira.
Another place to consider seeing when planning your trip to the surfing capital is Peniche, a coastal town to the north of Ericeira. Peniche is also known for its beaches & conditions that are conducive for surfing.
Then there’s Azenhas do Mar another coastal village to the south of Ericeira, and the town of Queluz to the southeast.